This Won't Be Popular, and It's Very Off Topic

Real Estate Agent with Davis R. Chant, REALTORS RS301772

Frankly, I will be surprised if this gets any notice at all.  But I am compelled to continue.

A few weeks ago, I opened a package of frozen talapia - one of my family's favorite meals.  I bake it in lemon and butter, with salt & pepper, and whatever spices I feel led to sprinkle on top.  Yum.

The fish was served, and I hungrily took my first bite - and nearly gagged.  Everyone else had similar reactions.  I got the fish wrapper out of the garbage to check the date - the date was fine.  What's this?


What the heck?  I for one have not gotten over the pet food scare of last summer, the toothpaste scare, the expose reporting of food from China being made with fake filler ingredients.  I just never thought to look at the labels of our FOOD to see that it doesn't come from China.  I falsely assumed that the tainted food is that stuff you get ultra cheap in the dollar stores - get what you pay for and all that.

But more and more of our brand name food items have very murky origins.

Does anyone care?

Probably not.  We're all worked up about the cost of fuel, being green, let's preserve our environment while our bodies are being fed by contaminated food products.

I used to think I only had to watch labels to avoid MSG and it's probably everything we eat.

I've been buying IGA brand products because they clearly say "MADE IN THE USA"

But are they really? 

A 2002 Farm Bill passed by Congress mandated country-of-origin labeling for seafood, beef, lamb, pork, fish, fruits, vegetables and peanuts, but the Bush administration has delayed its implementation for everything except seafood until October 2008.


How come nobody is worried about this?  We're being distracted by the other stuff that ultimately will mean nothing in the long run if our food is crap.

How long before something serious happens to US - and we end up like the hundreds of pets that died painful deaths due to contaminated wheat gluten?  Contaminated with MELAMINE?   Or what happens if that anti freeze ingredient that was in the toothpaste ends up in Fruit Loops?

Nope, has nothing to do with real estate, except maybe the idea of buying some real estate in Montana and living off the land is sounding mighty good to me now....if the land hasn't been polluted that is... 

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Kay Perry
Kay Perry, Broker - College Station, TX
Hi, I read your blog and totally agree...very scary.
May 01, 2008 02:11 AM #1
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

Thanks Kay.  I just wish I knew what to do about it - so many people have a complacent attitude or are caught up in the more politically popular topics of the day...

Frankly, I could care less right now about Obama cutting ties with his pastor, I don't care that Hillary may lose to McCain if she gets the ticket, and I don't care that McCain is old and a republican in name only.

I don't really care about using green products if the food I buy for my family is going to make them sick.  I had stopped buying store brand products some time ago because I thought the quality in the name brands would be worth it.

But I was wrong - name brand means diddly.  Kellogg's Cereal doesn't say anything about where its product originates from...I don't know that I'd even trust most things labeled "organic" because the FDA has let so many things slide by that the wool has been pulled over the eyes of the unsuspecting public for a long time.

Here's another page, kind of scary.  I had just looked last night at a box of LIFE cereal to see where it was made, and it said Made iN Canada, so I felt good about getting it - I trust Canada...but then I read this page: 

May 01, 2008 02:25 AM #2
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate


You got me here... via Twitter. I try not to judge anything based on "made in _______" labels but  I don't know if I would eat fish from China right now though...  

I had stale, muddy tasting tilapia about three or four years ago and have not been able to eat it since.   I have no idea what the country of origin was.  I had a shrimp dish at an ethnic restaurant and the shrimp tasted muddy so I don't eat shrimp out usually any more.  I read some place about the American shrimping business and how tough it is for them because of imports from Asia but that there is a big difference in taste.

We were watching something on Earth Day on PBS about green fish farming (most fish farming is very unGreen.) I am pretty unGreen but I am trying. 

Last night on Boston Legal there was a story about cloning of cattle and the FDA.  Not sure how much of the premise was based on fact or if there was artistic license but it's making me think about beef again.  Go vegetarian?  Remember the problem with spinach from California last year?  The year before?  I love fresh spinach but if it has salmonella there is not even any off flavor to warn you NOT to eat it. 




May 01, 2008 02:38 AM #3
Steve Hoffacker
Steve Hoffacker LLC - West Palm Beach, FL
Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor
Karen, very good post. We are very picky about the origin of food products and toiletry items.
May 01, 2008 03:04 AM #4
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

Thanks for the comment, Maureen - and yeah, I remember the issue with fresh spinach from California.  It is just downright scary any way you look at it.  Strawberries from Mexico had hepatitis b contamination, I think (my mom was all a dither because she heard hep-b and thought it was HIV.  Had the hardest time convincing her that you couldn't get HIV from strawberries...)

My husband has friends who sold their home and purchased farm land in central PA.  With the exception of a few staples they get from a food co-op (rice, flour, salt, sugar, etc) they grow ALL of their own food or catch it themselves.

They raise their own beef, raise their own chickens and eggs, grow and can their own vegetables, hunt for turkey, deer, and catch fish...though I dont' know that I'd trust fish from our streams and lakes unless the lake is certified clean.  

**Wondering how I can make my own frosted flakes...**

I don't have a green thumb and really am not inclined to becoming a gardener.   This is the United States, arguably one of the wealthiest nations in the world - and we can't be guaranteed that we'll get good food when we go to the store?  

Something is very wrong with this picture. 

May 01, 2008 03:05 AM #5
Joe Virnig
RE/MAX Gold Coast REALTORS, Ventura County, California - Ventura, CA
No Ordinary Joe
It wouldn't have occurred to me that frozen fish would be from China.  I only shop at Trader Joe's so I'll have to check there labels.
May 01, 2008 03:10 AM #6
Audrey June-Forshey
RE/MAX Realty Services - Darnestown, MD
GRI, Gaithersburg, MD
Karen, I check all the labels now on everything,  If it comes from China, I dont buy it.  I think there is something to the fact the head of their version of the FDA killed himself?  Something is rotten there? 
May 01, 2008 03:10 AM #7
Tina Howell
RE/MAX DFW Associates VI - Little Elm, TX
Little Elm & Frisco Area Real Estate
Good post -- it is all so overwhelming to think about that I fear that is partially what makes people complacent.  I will point out that a lot of brand name products are produced in the same exact factory as the generic brand and only separated when it comes to packaging.  I learned that from a CEO with Nestle corp during a college econ. class.  For example he told us, if you buy Kellogg corn flakes and the store brand they are exactly the same, even bagged the same & them separated for the boxing.
May 01, 2008 03:11 AM #8
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate


One of the local food bloggers I read has blogged about buying local produce for years.... this might be the year for me.  

I am not a gardener.  We did tomatoes a few years.  

My parents were big gardeners in Wisconsin for years,  they had 40 acres.  No livestock... well there were the guinea hens but they were supposed to be watch hens and I think some other animal ate them, or they flew away.  They were not food. 

My father was raised on a farm, I spent my childhood visiting the farm.  I don't want to know the animals I eat.  I like food that comes in plastic wrap with out a face or eyes.  


May 01, 2008 03:15 AM #9
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate
Karen - There are already enough things to worry about. It gives you a real sinking feeling when you have to worry about everything you are putting into your body that could wrek havoc.
May 01, 2008 04:31 AM #10
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life
Yikes!  Perhaps this has nothing directly to do with Real Estate, but it is very relevant news to all of us.  I hadn't heard this until now...
May 01, 2008 07:23 AM #11
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Karen, I just watched something on television about this and after what I watched I'M NOT BUYING ANY FOOD FROM CHINA.  I really like made in America.  I had a home party a few years ago and when I was unpacking the items I noticed that everything said made in China.  At that point I decided I would not be doing that type of party any more.
May 01, 2008 01:06 PM #12
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

Karen- NEVER buy any seafood from CHINA! This is a given. The safe fish standards say DO NOT buy any seafood not from USA or some places in Europe. They do not have standards for the toxicity levels there. 

 It is not even so much about where the fish comes from. All fish must be WILD CAUGHT and not farm raised. Never buy even farm raised SALMON here in the states. It is SO toxic, they live in their shi$ for heaven's sake! It is so polluted in the farm beds of fish that in our own Safe Fish standards say to not eat farmed raised Salmon more than 3 times a month.

First of all, you can only buy Talapia if you get it right from a fisherman off the boat.  Talapia is always farm raised if you buy it in a store. 

Now we have GMO products and the FDA says that we DO NOT need to know if we are eating genetically modified food!

That is why we buy only organic and certified GMO free. There is so much more here than you can imagine! And so much that is hidden from us. We eat poisons every day.

You are SO right, everyone is on the GREEN band wagon, follow the money, but no one cares about the polluted and toxins they put in their own bodies, save the planet but kill yourselves through your diet!

But there is no money in prevention!  

May 02, 2008 09:32 AM #13
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY
It's a VERY serious problem.  Some of the "bugs" you can get from tainted fish are not to be believed and our entire food supply is suspect. I mean we've had strawberries infected with E.coli.
May 06, 2008 04:21 PM #14
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

Everyone, thank you for the feedback.  It is good to know that more people are becoming concerned about this.

I would never have knowingly bought seafood from China - I stupidly thought all the fish we buy comes from Alaska, Canada, or Newfoundland...or something like that!

This is scary stuff.  

I got an email from Kellogg's and they said that unless it specifically states otherwise, their cereals are made in the USA.  However, I'm not comforted by that; it could be made in the USA from Chinese imports. 

Anyway, thanks again for commenting - EVERYONE!!!! 

May 07, 2008 10:24 AM #15
April Hayden-Munson
Brookfield, WI
Brookfield Wisconsin Real Estate

WOW - I've never even THOUGHT of checking frozen fish for a made in.. xxxx label.  Would think it cost too much to ship it here.  Pretty soon we'll be eating what we can grow for ourselves..... SCARY!

And thanks for commenting on my post a few days ago.

May 18, 2008 08:44 AM #16
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